In 1899, Robert Baden Powell, an English soldier, wrote a text-book for the army called ‘Aids to scouting’ based on his experiences in East Africa.
Some years later, he discovered that people were using his book to train boys who were interested in outdoor activities.
In 1907, Baden Powell himself organized a camp for boys on an English island; his ideas were so popular that they soon were used on the guidelines for Boy Scout troops in many countries.
Girls also became interested in scouting at the beginning of the century, and the Girl Guides Organization (Girl Scouts in the United States) was started in 1910.
The Girl Guides and Boy Scouts grew very quickly at the start and they have continued to grow. Today, there are about 20 million Scouts and Guides in 115 countries. Some things about scouting have changed over the years: different countries have developed special programmes; they have used different training methods; and they have designed different uniforms to suit the climates and traditions of different parts of the world.
The result is that scouting today includes a rich variety of people involved in all kinds of fun and adventurous activities.
But even though many things have changed in the last 80 years, today’s Scouts still have several things in common in any part of the world.
The things that have not changed since 1907 are the general aims of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides. These are the same as they were when Robert Baden Powell began the movement. The goals of scouting are:
• To create young people of good character who are physically fit.
• To encourage a spirit of service ( a good deed everyday)
• To develop people who are loyal to their countries and who respect the beliefs of all others.
How we do it
How does scouting achieve its goals? Scouting offers lots of interesting activities. You can learn about nature study, camping, first-aid, signaling, swimming, etc. in addition, scouting offers young people an opportunity to meet other young people like themselves.
It sponsors jamborees, which are big Scout meetings with scouts from different areas, and every four years, there is a world jamboree.
These world jamborees have been held in many different countries and on different continents- a recent one was in Australia- and they are very exciting. But the most important things are not these meetings. What matters most are people!
What about you?
Wouldn’t you like to be one of these people? Then join your local Boy Scout or Girl Guide troop. Twenty million young people like you have joined already!